Skiing up Cairn Gorm one day, a couple of days later getting the bikes out and a visit up the local glen.
The milder weather meant that the ice has gone from the roads; they are almost free of salt and grit after some days of rain and there is a chance that my feet will not become blocks of ice during a cycle ride.
We have a 10 mile dead end road going from Tomatin to Coignafearn; this is Strathdearn and the road runs beside the River Findhorn most of the way. It is a quiet road, meeting five vehicles makes it a ‘busy day’. Yes, this was a busy day as we met five vehicles and two school buses! Unusually, the wind was from the east so it was a fast ride out and a slower ride home again. The route is undulating so is a good workout with frequent ‘recoveries’.
As I was cycling up the glen, there were signs of spring appearing - some daffodils are starting to show in gardens, a dipper was flitting about the river, some buds on the trees, Paul saw the goats near the head of the glen and my feet did not get too cold!!
It was so pleasant that I stopped at Coignafearn and took some photos of Ruby; I had thought that she was nearly at 2000km but that did not actually happen until the next ride out.
Paul and I are entered into the Etape Loch ness on the first Sunday in May. Most of the route is OK, just undulating. There is however, the not so small matter of the hill from Fort Augustus to Whitebridge. There is about 400m of ascent in 8km and some of it is steep. I wanted to cycle this part of the route to make sure that I actually could do it. So, on the last day of March we headed off to Whitebridge; fortunately we had left it late as we discovered that he road from Daviot to Whitebridge had a closure until 3pm as they were resurfacing part of it.
The cycle down to Fort Augustus was great; the road surface is a bit rough in places but I was still able to get up to over 50kph at times. After a short stop in Fort Augustus (the mandatory Nutrigrain bar) it was back on the bike to face the climb. Yes, it goes on and on. Yes it is steep in places (especially a short kick at the end of Loch Tarff). Yes I can cycle it without stopping or walking! But it does take me ages so I will have to work on trying to get a bit faster on the hills. Ruby clocked over 2000km at the end of this ride.
My next cycle did not happen - I planned to go from Aviemore to home but the chain broke just after I left the car. I changed into running kit and had a long run (10km) from the Slochd to home by the ‘high track’ which involves a couple of short steep climbs and a long steep descent which my quads are still complaining about.
It is great to have the opportunities to do a variety of activities close to home. In the last 10 days we have skied, run, cycled, been to spinning classes and done some orienteering training! We are off to Mallorca to cycle and the bike boxes have arrived; I have the blue on with the Saltire on it while Paul ordered a black one, now that is a surprise!
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